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I am new to this forum, but I have been collecting trains for 40 years.  I have Lionel Standard, O, HO gauge layouts.  I recently stumbled on a train engine and tender at a sale that I had never heard of but bought it because it is simply amazing.  I have searched online trying to figure things out, but I need a lot of help.  I have some questions.  Thank you for any help you can provide.  I will attach some photos.

1. The engine and tender are in original boxes that are marked “Perfection Scale Models”.  The engine box says “U.P. Big Boy” and the other says “U.P. Big Boy Tender Only”.  They both have an MG label and “Max Gray Distributor and Importer”.  I can find Max Gray stuff online, but not this exact box/engine/tender.  The engine itself has the number 4019 on the sides of the cab.  I have found that the real 4019 that was built had smoke deflectors but this model does not.  Are there certain searches I should make?

2. The gauge is not identified, but the engine and tender fit perfectly on my Lionel O Gauge track.  Because of the train’s size (23 inches long for the engine alone and 36 inches overall) and incredible weight, I was surprised it was O Gauge.  This makes it larger than the other Max Gray O Gauge that I have seen online.  It does not have pickups between the drivers on the bottom of the engine, so it must be two rail?  Can anyone confirm that? If so, where can I find two rail track?  I would like to see if the engine works.  

3. I did try to apply power to the engine.  I have to admit, I had no idea what I was doing.  Nothing happened no matter where I placed the wires on the bottom of the engine.  However, there are three wires with metal leads that come out of the back of the engine that plug into the tender.  When I touched the wires to these, the engine hummed.  Can anyone tell me if I can test the engine by applying transformer wires to it and where to place them?

4. Finally, what is the market value of this engine and tender set with its original boxes?  I try to insure my trains for value.  

Thank you for your help!31B4AB8E-B1CA-483C-91E3-EADA406A1E7576BCA482-97A6-40D7-84DD-CF75C8041075B1814DC7-B8BE-4D94-A7FF-B0A992188BCAC3E34D12-B79C-4426-BB98-8EA04D3FC9BB1228FB42-62EC-474B-80A2-357C8D73CFCB5917F9F7-7B47-4955-AE74-EFA6F0AC08A876058BFC-BA54-428C-B3B5-C93F91AD54C1EA79333A-CC1F-4415-8B03-6AD3AD813095DC7C5202-C603-4820-A2A5-84A6A27AEFE5

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Perfection Scale Models was a product of the early years of the brass import business. Max Gray, US Hobbies, Pioneer Scale Models, etc all built these fine bullet proof scale models through the early 60's. They changed hands between importers however various kinds of the same models were built in Japan. This one is especially nice and though not nearly as detailed as modern high end brass these models were built to a standard that can't be matched today at current prices. This is all off the top of my head as they say the other guys here on the forum can add or edit. I will take a look at a special issue of the Brass Collector I have that covers the pioneers in Japan such as Sofue and the Great efforts by early importers such as Pacific Fast Mail and Max Gray. Beautiful piece cherish it. Pure hand-built art from a time long before 3D and Autocad!

Yo, Bro!  That's a 2-rail engine that runs on DC power!!

Three rail track and a CW-80 are NOT what this engine is made for!!!

Find a length of 2-rail O gauge track...or a length of Gargraves/Ross 3-rail.  Connect a DC power pack to the outer two rails  (assuming they are isolated from each other).

Carefully apply power with the tender hooked up/plugged in to the engine.  If the engine doesn't respond/move, STOP!!  you may need to have a major overhaul/lube job, etc..  For which you'll probably need some experienced help.

Just sayin'...

KD

@dkdkrd posted:

Yo, Bro!  That's a 2-rail engine that runs on DC power!!!

Three rail track and a CW-80 are NOT what this engine is made for!!!

Find a length of 2-rail O gauge track...or a length of Gargraves/Ross 3-rail.  Connect a DC power pack to the outer two rails  (assuming they are isolated from each other).

Carefully apply power with the tender hooked up/plugged in to the engine.  If the engine doesn't respond/move, STOP!!  you may need to have a major overhaul/lube job, etc..  For which you'll probably need some experienced help.

Just sayin'...

KD

One might assume since it was posted in 2 rail he may know its 2 rail DC but yes I would refrain from attempting to run it with the trusty ZW. Good advice from KD a cleaning and gear lube or both is likely in order. I prefer to re-power these early models with can motors and DCC but this one is likely still an open frame DC motor. The drives on these models are built to last 100 years. Noisy by today's standards but absolutely bullet proof.

This is my US Hobbies D&RGW L-131 I left it mostly original except a new coreless Faulhaber 2014 motor and LokSound ESU decoder with 4 speakers. The model dates from roughly 1960. Superb turned brass detailing and castings. I’ve added a few improvements but largely it’s all original.

6ED5857D-45F8-42A3-94A5-A34223DD8EB6

Of course I shot this photo on my module and added some flare. I love these early models and own several.

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Last edited by Erik C Lindgren

A lot of the imports by Max Grey were labeled "Perfection Scale Models".    I have a couple of PRR models so labeled.    I also have a couple of catalogues.    He may have used that name on all of his imports.  

The model should be 2 rail DC.    No center rail pickups.    I have never seen a Max Grey loco done in 3 rail, Power from one rail is picked up by the tender and power from the other rail is picked up by the loco.    The plug from the tender passes the power to the motor from the tender.     It is definitely O scale which which is why sits on your track.  

It is possible that the loco has a series wound motor, not a permag motor, but it would still be wired for DC as that was mostly  standard practice for 2 rail by the late 50s.  

Any track you can get that is O gauge and has the outside rails isolated will work.   Gargraves is one option.   Atlas O makes 2 rail O track.    There is also a mfg called Micro Engineering I think that makes O scale flex track in 2 rail.  

@P40Warhawk posted:

Thank you for the help so far.  I will look for the Gargraves/Ross track and make sure I have DC power.  Erik, thank you for the info about the age of the train and the sense of value.  If you find out anything else I am all ears.

Don't waste your time time with Gargraves/Ross track, as their products are for 3-Rail train folks. You need to consider Atlas 2-Rail track & turnouts, since your model is strictly 2-Rail SCALE.

I remember going in to Model Railroad Equipment Corporation at 23 W. 45th Street in NYC when it was owned by Carmen Webster. They had a lot of Max Gray O scale brass equipment. The fellow who handled most O scale sales was Herman as I recall. I am not sure of his last name though. Possibly Lenzenweger? This was in the  mid 1950's.

Max Gray equipment was never factory painted as far as I recall. Max also did some HO models marketed as Metric Models with the same blue boxes as the O scale equipment. I still have an HO NYC 19000 series caboose and two O scale express refrigerators with the boxes - one is REA and the other is a PRR R50b. I don't believe Max ever provided trucks for his cars.

The price marked on one of the O scale boxes is $7.85 from Model Railroad Equipment Corp.

Last edited by rheil

Fantastic info on the need to have the tender plugged into the engine for it to receive appropriate power.  I did not consider that.  Thank you for the further track recommendations.  It will be an interesting process getting this to run.  I don’t mean to sound totally ignorant, but do these engines have the ability to not only go forward but also reverse?  Will any DC transformer work?  

Max Gray started importing models in the mid '50s.  His first import was a Big Boy.  It is said he imported them many times.  As far as I know all were built by KTM.  Max died it '65 and USH (owned by Levon Kemalyan & Robert Speidel) picked up the importing of O Scale brass.  Robert had left Visalia and moved to the East Bay (Palo Alto) but he drowned in a swimming pool in '66 and Levon became the sole owner of USH.  The earliest USH models included an L-131 and came in a box marked USH but had the fabricated brass gearbox with Max's initials etched into the bottom.  Always a clear indication of a KTM/MG model.  There were 5 models that fell into the MG/USH era.  They were basically models that Max ordered and were already in various stages of production when he died.  The models were, the L-131, a UP 2-8-0, a PRR 4-4-2, an Erie 4-6-2, and I forget the last one.

How do I know all of this?  From reading documentation provided to me by the Speidels.  I worked on cleaning up all of hos models for the family.  They also showed me numerous documents ledt over from the era.  I found it most interesting, the later 5 had labels attached to the various major components.  These labels were the old Dymo labels we used to make, oh so many years ago.  I believe Robert was involved in taking the models to shows, and such.

Much more to the story but that's enough for now.

Jay

Last edited by Jay C

To answer your question about direction control, it is in the polarity of the track. This is a DC engine, so one rail is plus, the other minus. In this configuration, the engine goes only one direction. Reverse the track polarity, and the engine goes in the opposite direction. This is fine, so long as you don't have a reversing loop built into the layout. To prevent a short circuit, special wiring is needed. HO and 2 rail scale people are very familiar with the situation and how to deal with it. 3 rail people don't need to worry, as the center rail addresses the issue. They are also less likely to know about it.

You have a nice piece there. Keep raw AC away from it! BTW, You can use your CW transformer IF you install a bridge rectifier on the output BEFORE the voltage gets to the track. An appropriately wired Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) electrical switch will provide the ability to reverse track polarity and engine direction.

Chris

LVHR

Jay, great history lesson.  Chris, thank you for the warning about AC.  I will carefully look for the proper power source and hook up.  Mark, thank you for the Model Rectifier recommendation and the preference on Micro Engineering.  
      I feel like I took a crash course in college level O gauge two rail brass trains.  Thank you one and all.  
       Does anyone know of any significance of the 4019 number on this train.  Is it simply a reflection of that particular real life Big Boy or does it mean something specific to Perfection Scale Models?  Also, in an effort to accurately itemize this in my collectibles insurance, is there a value guide that I should consult?

Congrats on a beautiful,  historic acquisition!  I love that the coal bunker is modeled empty.   You could do whatever you wish with that. 

Almost any 2 rail track will do.  As noted the outer tracks will need separated electrically and direction is determined by dc polarity.   For a simple test run in a loop Gargraves would do fine despite reservations of some others here.  It's all about the shape of the rail head interacting with the profile of the wheels.  Traditional o gauge tinplate rails are rounded on top,  and simply don't play nice with narrow scale wheels.

Also, and I think you know this but already but just throwing it out there, you need to consider radius if planning on looping around.   I wouldn't try anything less than 0-72, 3' radius / 6' diameter on this machine unless it came with paperwork saying something else.

For a traditional dc open frame motor just about any dc hobby transformer meant for O or G gauge should do. 

Since you have post war equipment as well I also presume you can apply oil where it looks needed.

Congrats again on a cool find! 

Ps. I personally would keep it original,  but if you want it to run on 3 rail track there are several options if center rail pickups are installed.   Easiest would be a reverse unit such as a high amp Dallee offering.  It would still need non- tubular rails though

@Tom Tee posted:

Avoid GarGraves track use for any scale flange two rail engine.  Their rail die has worn considerable over the years and no longer has the original sharp edge "T" head.  Derailments on curves likely. 

Good advice/clarification, Tom.

I suggested a short length of GG/Ross (3-footer) for bench testing, only.  In fact GG/Ross track for the bench is particularly handy, since it's reasonable for testing either 2-rail or 3-rail product...correctly powered, of course...which is the way I have my own bench set up.

Erik...Didn't pay attention to the category this thread was under.  But, the photo of his engine sitting on 3-rail tubular track wired to a CW-80 left few assumptions....IMHO, of course.

KD

@Tom Tee posted:

Avoid GarGraves track use for any scale flange two rail engine.  Their rail die has worn considerable over the years and no longer has the original sharp edge "T" head.  Derailments on curves likely.   Quite possibly you will need a DC power pack with 5 amp out put.

I was not aware of that - great clarification.  I use some Gargraves 3 rail on my home layout but its really old stock.

Found this...

"Max Gray imported his first brass models from Japan in 1952, and there is a strong possibility that Gray and Levon Kemalyan   had some business dealings.  In the early 1950's Kemtron was the only model manufacturer doing brass detail castings, so it is believed that Max Gray must have purchased his castings from Kemtron. A major portion of the Kemtron casting business went to Japan for models made there. After Max Gray passed away at the age of 50 in 1966, it is believed that Levon Kemalyan of Kemtron acquired parts of the Max Gray line. Both Gray and Kemalyan utilized KTM (Katsumi Mokeiten Co., Ltd.) as their Japanese builder. KTM models, based in Tokyo and founded in 1948, were considered to be the best Japanese producer of small batch brass models at the time. U.S. Hobbies Inc. also utilized Japanese builder Toby for some of its brass products. The Toby Model Company was a brass manufacturer founded by Mr. Noboru Sawada in Yokohama, Japan."

Here is the Kemtron Big Boy... maybe enlarge it and compare details...

kemtron17

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This is my US Hobbies D&RGW L-131 I left it mostly original except a new coreless Faulhaber 2014 motor and LokSound ESU decoder with 4 speakers. The model dates from roughly 1960. Superb turned brass detailing and castings. I’ve added a few improvements but largely it’s all original.

6ED5857D-45F8-42A3-94A5-A34223DD8EB6

Of course I shot this photo on my module and added some flare. I love these early models and own several.

I cannot believe that picture is not the real thing. Awesome job. John

@jhz563 posted:

I was not aware of that - great clarification.  I use some Gargraves 3 rail on my home layout but its really old stock.

I use a mix of both old(er) and new Gargraves, because I like to alternate between 2 and 3 rail models...and I have had no issues whatsoever with my 2 rail stock running on this brand of track. Maybe I'm just lucky...

Mark in Oregon

While the consequences of just hitting this thing with 5 amps of Dc (or for that matter, AC) are not truly catastrophic (motors are cheap) i would recommend disassembly, degreasing, re-lubrication, and hand- operation before going another futher.

Try the motor by hand as well, then lubricate it and run it without hookup for a minute or two.

Only then, clean the wheels and track test.

My hand-built and carefully lubricated models seem to freeze up in a decade.

Be aware that flanges on some MG models were rather tall when compared to those on more recent O scale 2 rail models.   My MG PRR C1 and D16sb models badly bumped through the code 125 turnouts in my yard and branch line track.  They ran ok through mainline code 148 turnouts. In addition to re-motoring and up detailing the brass MG models, I've replaced the wheel sets and had the driver flanges turned down. They now look and run better.    If you do not wish to alter your model and want to run it on 2 rail  track be sure to go with a rail height and turnout frogs compatible with the flanges on your Big Boy.   

Last edited by Keystoned Ed

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